Johannesburg - Liesha du Toit was petrified. Would Judge Geraldine Borchers go easy on her niece’s killers? Or would they finally get what they deserved?
As Judge Borchers read out her sentence in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, Du Toit breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, there would be justice for teenager Kirsty Theologo. A life sentence for Lindon Wagner. Twenty years for his accomplice cousin, Robin Harwood.
“I didn’t really know what the judge was going to do. I was petrified and scared she would be light on them. She wasn’t and it’s the best thing I’ve felt in a very long time.”
It was on October 21, 2011, when Wagner, Harwood and two other friends lured Theologo and her best friend, then 14, to a koppie behind a swimming club in Linmeyer, south of Joburg.
There they bound Theologo, smashed her head with a rock, doused her with petrol and set her alight as a sacrificial offering to the devil. They also set her friend alight. Theologo died a week later from severe burns.
Wagner was handed a life sentence for the murder and a further 18 years for trying to murder her friend. Harwood was sentenced to 20 years for being an accomplice.
In court this week Du Toit was covered in gooseflesh. “I’m not superstitious but I was constantly getting cold chills and goosies. I think it was a sign from her to know that it’s done. At last someone is paying for what happened.”
Tomorrow, she will say goodbye to Theologo, visiting her grave tucked away in a Springs cemetery. It’s been two years since she ventured there. She will bring flowers and say a quiet prayer.
“I won’t be forgetting her, but I will be saying goodbye. I need to give her peace. She can rest now. Other members of the family go to Kirsty’s grave on her birthday and on Christmas. But I haven’t been there since the day we buried her.
“But the sentencing brought me closure.
I was in court every single day of the trial. That’s two years. Every single day while they (the killers) stood there smiling, grinning and thinking it’s a big joke.”
The families of both Wagner and Harwood have bemoaned the judgment, insisting it was unfair as their sons were on drugs and the murder could not be premeditated.
“It’s hard to see what their families are going through,” said Du Toit. “But my family is joyful. We are happy it’s behind us, it’s over. We can move on, finally put her to peace where she belongs – next to God where she can be an angel. Finally, she can rest in peace.”